It is believed the strong ‘buy local’ culture in British Columbia will boost the provincial government’s recently-presented plans to support and promote the agri-food and seafood sector, according to an independent report published by the Finding Common Ground Summit.
The provincial government plans to increase the revenue of food producers by $15billion by 2020. This includes increasing purchases by 43 percent, which equates to $2.3billion.
The Finding Common Ground Summit, which took place last month, has created plans that align with those of the provincial government, which has listed 49 steps to help meet the revenue goals it has set. These goals call for an increase in international exports of $800million and exports to other Canadian provinces of $1.1billion.
BC Food Systems Network Director and report co-author Brent Mansfield said the government’s strategy was realistic and attracting support from various quarters, adding that the local food procurement policies of municipal governments, universities and hospitals could ensure a reliable market for locally-grown foods and promote the growth and expansion of food distribution and processing businesses.
A number of municipal governments have policies that support buy local policies, and several British Columbia universities also focus on procuring local foods. The provincial government has spent $8million since 2012 on Buy Local programs to promote seafood, agricultural products and nursery plants, according to the ministry of agriculture, and a campaign run by the BC Food Processors Association increased sales of British Columbia products by five percent in four months.
The Finding Common Ground Summit, organized by the Real Estate Foundation of British Columbia grant program, believes it is important to improve the training and support offered to new farmers, as well as protect and increase access to agricultural land and build domestic markets, in the short to medium term.
British Columbia boasts a number of agri-tech businesses that have been started by entrepreneurs. These businesses use technology to boost yields and quality. Considering the amount of support the British Columbia agricultural sector is receiving, the time is ripe for interested entrepreneurs to get involved.
Many entrepreneurs will find they can benefit from a University Canada West (UCW) masters of business administration (MBA) degree, which provide the business education and corporate training required to seize opportunities and carve out careers in the field of their choice. The UCW MBA program is designed to develop student entrepreneurship into small business leadership, regardless of sector.